I love that the sport of triathlon is growing in Utah. As mentioned in previous posts, Utah is full of amazing venues for open water triathlons and swims. New events are added every year and I am always meeting people who are trying the sport for the first time. However, take a look at the 2009 calendar of open water events and you will only see one race that is purely a swimming race (the Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim).
It seems to me that triathlon race directors could easily add a "swim only" category to their races and collect a little more in entry fees by doing so.
I imagine that people participating in the "swim only" category would all start in one wave (either by themselves or with athletes participating in the triathlon) and could wear the same timing chips that the triathletes wear. The timing system is already set up to record swim splits and I would guess that it would not be difficult to add a "swim only" category (similar to an age group or distance category) that would only record the swim time.
I suspect that it would not require any more support than is already in position for the triathletes.
With minimal added expense, race directors could charge a separate fee for the "swim only" category which would only be icing on the cake to their triathlon race fees.
Maybe this is something that race directors have simply not considered. Or maybe they have and have come to the conclusion that there is not enough demand. But with the growth of open water swimming across the country and across the world with the addition of the 10K open water swim to the Summer Olympics, it's something to think about...